Monday, September 26, 2011

It’s a sad day for Kenya

Born: 1 April 1940
Died: 25 September 2011
Prof. Wangari Maathai was one of the greatest women in the world. She was steadfast in her quest to make Kenya and the world a better place. Her fight for environmental conservation, women rights, and urging fellow Kenyans to plant trees where wanton deforestation for short sighted financial gains was the norm propelled her into national and international limelight. This was achieved through the Green Belt Movement that she founded in 1970.
In 1984 and 2004 she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award and the Nobel Peace Prize respectively. Prof. Wangari Maathai is the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Prize Laureate put her life in danger for the greater good of the country. Wangari Maathai raised the red flag when she learnt of the government intention of privatizing large chunks of Karura Forest to award political cronies. Through letters to the press and the relevant government bodies she made her feelings known. In 1999, Green Belt members, environmentalist from German, Members of Parliament and international observers went to plant trees in the area earmarked for a golf course by the government. The protests turned ugly when men who were guarding the forest turned violent. Most of the protesters were injured in the ensuing melee including the great environmentalist Wangari Maathai.
Wangari Maathai marriage to Mwangi Mathai ended in divorce after her husband accused her of adultery with a Member of Parliament. He also claimed that she was too strong minded for a woman and she was uncontrollable.
Maathai was quoted by The standard as claiming that HIV/AIDS was a Western scientist creation designed to finish Africans. She was to reiterate the same sentiments in an interview with the Time Magazine although not explicitly.
Prof. Wangari Maathai passed away on 25 September 2011 at Nairobi Hospital while receiving cancer treatement aged 71.
She survived by her three children. We loved you and we know you are in a better place.

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